Published: 27.09.2022

The most recent (August 2022) "Payment Radar" of Latvijas Banka suggests that the ratio of non-cash and cash payments in Latvia was 71% to 29% in late summer of 2022.

The "Payment Radar" contains the latest information on money usage habits of Latvia's households, businesses and the public at large. This information has been obtained from the results of the population survey conducted by a market and social research agency SIA Latvijas Fakti.

The "Payment Radar" is published semi-annually and available on Latvijas Banka's website (https://www.bank.lv/en/tasks/payment-systems/payment-radar). Changes in the proportion and interaction between non-cash and cash payments (as at August 2022) is the central measurement of the overview supplemented by more detailed numerical information and experts' commentaries.

August 2022 exhibited stability with regard to all major measurements of money use. Compared with February 2022, the use of cash has somewhat increased. The ratio of cash and non-cash payments was then 74% to 26% (70% to 30% in August 2021). In August 2022, the average number of payments made by one inhabitant per week stood at 12.6 (12.8 in February 2022, 13.9 in August 2021).

Public satisfaction as regards a possibility to withdraw cash from bank accounts remains stable. In August 2022, 84% of those surveyed by SIA Latvijas Fakti were completely or rather satisfied with cash availability. The figure is the same as in February 2022 and exceeds that of August 2021 by two percentage points. At the same time, the number of people dissatisfied with the possibilities to withdraw cash from their bank accounts continues on a downward path (8% in August 2022, 10% in February 2022, 11% in August 2021).

Zita Zariņa, Member of the Council of Latvijas Banka, points out in the expert commentary section that ensuring cash availability has been one of the priority areas of Latvijas Banka for the past two years. In September 2021, the general public learned about the agreement reached in the financial sector on ensuring cash availability to residents of Latvia. The aim of the Memorandum was to ensure cash availability to residents across the entire territory of Latvia, setting the minimum requirements for availability and reachability of cash.

A year has passed, and it is possible to take stock of the progress made towards the attainment of the aims of the Memorandum. There were 902 ATMs in Latvia during the drafting of the Memorandum. A year later, in autumn 2022, their number has seen an insignificant decrease (by 1%) – to 894. It can thus be concluded that the financial sector has honoured its commitment to refrain from reducing the number of ATMs by more than 5%.

"Why does Latvijas Banka pay particular attention to the issue of cash availability? Because it not only affects the public's freedom of choice but also strengthens Latvia's economic security which is especially relevant at present when Russia has launched war on Ukraine. Cash is part of the critical financial sector infrastructure; therefore, we continue our cooperation with the sector to implement measures ensuring access to cash in "times of peace" and be ready to ensure the population's access to its money in times of crisis", emphasises Zita Zariņa.

Discussions with partners from Finance Latvia Association and Latvia's leading commercial banks are ongoing to agree on the next steps towards ensuring cash availability, including continued implementation of the measures that were defined and successfully implemented in the context of the Memorandum of Understanding concluded in 2021.

The measurements of people's attitude towards small denomination euro coins are stable. In February 2022, 51% of those surveyed expressed the view that 1 and 2 cent coins should be withdrawn from circulation, 43% – that they should remain in circulation, but 6% of the respondents were unable to form their opinion. In August 2022, 49% of the population supported the withdrawal of small denomination euro coins from circulation, 43% were against it, while 8% of the population were unable to form their opinion. In the course of a year, the number of the population supporting the withdrawal of 1 and 2 euro cent coins from circulation has rather strongly increased. In August 2021, the withdrawal of small denomination coins from circulation was supported by 43% of the population, 50% of the respondents pointed out that these coins should be retained in circulation, but 7% of those surveyed found it difficult to express their views.

The "Payment Radar" contains several commentaries on topics relevant to society concerning cash circulation. The recent trends observed in development of the use of  cashless money and cash have been commented by Aigars Freimanis, Director of SIA Latvijas Fakti; cash availability – by Zita Zariņa, Member of the Council of Latvijas Banka; topical issues concerning the introduction of the digital euro – by Emīls Dārziņš and Reinis Vecbaštiks, state-of-the-art payment experts of Latvijas Banka; Croatia's path towards joining the euro area on 1 January 2023 – by Miķelis Zondaks, economist of Latvijas Banka. The "Payment Radar" includes visual materials of Croatian euro coins that will also reach our wallets after the turn of the year.

The sociological survey data and detailed information are available at https://www.bank.lv/en/tasks/payment-systems/payment-radar